Sustaining Greatness

Lessons Learned through LSU Football
Trill or Not Trill?


LSU is a dominant college football program. Currently, Les miles is the head football coach for the LSU Tigers. He has amassed 110 wins and only 32 loses through 11 seasons. His resume includes a National championship and several conference titles. He has coached several talented players that are flourishing in the NFL. (Most recently and notably Odell Beckham JR.)

However, the world we live in is fickle. So is leadership. 72 hours ago, A source close to the situation told ESPN’s Joe Schad that LSU leadership is “heavily in favor” of a change but that a final decision has not been made and that Miles has not been formally informed he will not return. 24 hours later, after the Tigers beat Texas A&M on Saturday, athletic director Joe Alleva announced that the school would retain football coach Les Miles.

There are a few   lessons we can learn from LSU and their football program on how to sustain our greatness as leaders.

Your past is not as important as the NOW
Student leaders understand the truth of this statement more than anyone. Your positions of influence last for 30 weeks at most, then we move on. This leaves NO time to live in the past. The following year is either graduation or the introduction to a new class.  Although Les Miles has a great overall record, the last two years they’ve finished 8-7 and in the middle of the pack in their. Mediocrity is not allowed in the SEC. Neither in leadership.

Big Time Positions = Big Time Expectations
Being a head football coach for a college program? Pretty challenging. Being a head football coach for a college program in the SEC? Extremely challenging. To my student leaders at the highest level, you are under a microscope. EVERY. SINGLE. DAY. The pressure is there to perform and lead as effectively as possible. I’ve heard this saying often during my time in student affairs, “When you are great no one notices, when you are bad no one forgets.” Hold yourself to the highest standard and be ready for those expectations.

Adaptability is Essential
We all know that change is necessary. It is inevitable. The greats adapt seamlessly without missing a beat.  LSU has failed in adapting to the new fast paced offensive style that is sweeping college football. The rest of their rivals have adjusted to the change. LSU lags behind, as their play is slowly deteriorating. Being proactive to potential threats in your organizations is what separates the so-so leaders (or the sucka MC’s as MrJeffDess calls them) and the greats. BE REVOLUTIONARY. The choice is yours to not only change with the game but to change it as well.

Change is Inevitable
Even the greatest coaches, have to move on sometime. We all know that

From champ, to chump, back to champ?

student leader, administrator, or professor that seems to have been around since the schools inception. This allows for complacency and arrogance to settle in. Being the big fish in a small pond for too long has its ceiling, the world is out there for us to experience. Love where you work, but always look towards making yourself better. No one is perfect. I’ve seen student leaders, open up a new club, have an unorthodox program, or shake up campus traditions and break the vicious cycle of monotony.

“Hard work beats talent, when talent doesn’t work hard”
As famously quoted by Kevin Durant himself, this couldn’t be truer to LSU football. LSU consistently ranks in the top 10 of recruiting classes each year. LSU is stacked with football talent. So why can’t  they win? Sometimes our organization needs the intangibles. The strong work ethic that can’t be taught or instilled in a player, will take you to the next level. The charisma of a leader that is able to connect with the players or students or administration is not always enough. Sometimes we are going to have to roll up our sleeves and work at these weaknesses. If we don’t do it, no one else will.

Students, live in the present. Experience is great, however our shelf life on a college campus is short. Experience can also make us arrogant and stubborn.  We only have 4-5 years to be great before we move on to another phase in our lives (hopefully). Focus on starting a club, but make sure you work on making it bigger. Focus on being president of a club. Once president though, don’t become complacent, find a way to build your organization and become better. Always look to push the envelope and strive for greatness.


Alvert Hernandez is a student at New Jersey City University. He is the current two term President of the Student Government Organization.